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August Poetry-About Death and Grief

Updated on July 20, 2013

When grief shows up

Grief can have a life of its own. It slips into the cellular structure of memory and implants itself into the sinew of the body. The anniversary of the death of a loved one can resurrect ghostly traces of something amiss. For me, it is August, the month in which I began the journey towards death with my loved one. As surreptitiously as a thief, it steals away my joy leaving an aching heart. Staying with this ache opens the chasm of grief revisited and the path to healing.

On this August morning, I allowed the flow of tears to bring the words that I share today with you. If you are inclined, you may visit the hub I wrote last year: Unresolved Grief.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to leave a comment about your own experience with grief. It truly is a universal experience.

It is August Again

It is August again.

I awaken throughout the night

Not knowing what is wrong,

My heart beating wildly against my chest...

A captive bird desperate to be free.

It is August again.

The remembrance of that fatal month

Begins to slip into consciousness;

An ugly stain on the white linen of Summer’s joy;

The voice of grief unwilling to shut up-a noisy clamor in my head.

It is August again.

Melancholy wraps itself around my ankles tripping me

like tangled vines that creep along the forest floor.

I want to sleep; pull the blanket of despair over me and shut out the world.

In silence the tears drop…in the recess of my room I wail in self pity.

It is August again.

A time for gentle understanding,

And, retreat from the brash demands of life.

It is a kindness to the Soul to rest in Compassion’s quiet,

A healing balm-cool and refreshing, it assuages the grieving heart.

Written by Denise Handlon, August 10, 2011 All rights reserved. No portion of this poem may be used, copied or reproduced in any matter without the written permission of the author.


My Aching Heart

The emptiness in my belly

Is a low rumbling like a train.

Where are you?

I am alone on this journey

That I must solo and I am afraid.

Tears fall from my aching heart.

It weeps for the memory of you, my Beloved.

Your warmth,

Your laughter,

Your embrace…

Let the tears fall, then

And drown me in the anguish of separation.

My body will float to the ocean.

My spirit will rise above the sea.

Meet me in the ethereal world

Where once more we will be

Impassioned lovers.

One heart forever more.

Written by Denise Handlon, August 10, 2011. All rights reserved. No portion of this poem may be used, copied or reproduced in any matter without the written permission of the author.


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    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Vinaya, my friend, thank you for your heartfelt comment. :) Many blessings.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal


      Its August again. I read your poem, it is emotionally charged because emotions and feelings seeped from the depth of heart.

      Griefs are universal, so true.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Kim, I believe you are correct. Thanks so much for your kind words and empathy. :)

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina


      I believe your beloved must still be with you and providing a strength to help you with all that was left when he went on before you. I am glad you give yourself permission to grieve. That is such an important piece.

      Sending hugs your way,


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Michelle, Thank you for your comments. I know we will continue to move forward, despite our losses. One way I allowed the process of healing was to write my story of grief. It was finished in 2007 and submitted to an editor. It is being published in an anthology about grief and loss and will be available for purchase this August. I actually posted this small, writing victory on the HH FB line, but was asked by one of the administrators to delete it due to it not staying with the HP line of authorship. :( I was disappointed, but added it to my individual writing page, which is actually under my same name. It does tend to confuse people, but not sure how to change it now.

      Thanks again for your read and stay strong. :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Denise, hugs to you. This is touching and so beautifully written. Getting over the death of a loved one is a challenge, and as Stessily says, so is transcending the boundaries of space and time to get over the hurt. Rest in the fact that we can, through the hurt, become stronger, better and braver.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Stessily-thanks for the heads up that my comment did appear...I'll reroute after this comment. I think there is a major traffic / energy flow, as one of my other comments also failed to appear in another hubber's work. Well...thank goodness I'm not taking it personally or I would be feeling a bit paranoid right now, haha.

      As for dreams: I do hope to write and reference the dream state in the future. I actually dug up a dream journal I had been keeping. Thanks for your encouragement.

      Oh...I just read your response to my comment on NH. LOL I'm glad you enjoyed the opening line! :) Take care...

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      Denise, The capacity and capability of love to transcend boundaries of space and time --- which, according to metaphysical writers, are artificial, surmountable barriers --- are enormous, mysteriously real, and transformative. From references you've made to your dreams elsewhere on HP, you seem particularly blessed with receptivity to the dream state and its dreamy world. (I actually wish that you would write some hubs about your experience with dreams.) That is so sweet and loving of John to meet you in dreams.

      As for cyberspace: yikes! A little more refined in its conniptions today but still reminding me of the necessity to proofread and cross my fingers before posting. Fortunately, your wonderful comments on "Susceptibility to Negative Influences" did appear, while your comments for creative visualization, "N H and the Sixth Sense", apparently are still somewhere in cyberspace. Perhaps there is heavy use of cyberspace in this last week of August and with the approach of the Labor Day weekend? I suppose that could create traffic jams, just as on roads and highways down here in the physical plane.

      Best wishes and kind regards, appreciatively, Stessily

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Stessily, I seem to have the same problem today with my computer...or, perhaps it has been a HP tech problem. I recall responding to your Napoleon Hill hub and not seeing it it had disappeared.

      Well, don't worry at all about this hub or the other...I really did think I had remembered you responding to 'A journey'. Nevertheless, I appreciate your lovely comments and I would be nice to reunite. However, I don't know that I would not be too heartbroken to say good bye again. Sometimes John meets me in my dreams and they are lovely and peaceful moments.

      Thanks so much for these few moments here. Have a wonderful rest of the week...

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      Denise, Please excuse my temperamental computer; I thought that I had removed the question about October, because as soon as I posed the question, I remembered that John had passed away in October; but the computer pretended to delete the question, and so I neglected to proofread my comment after posting.

      I remember your hub, "A Journey Towards Death", which is one of the most touching pieces of writing I've ever read. It is filled with a special blend of light, love, and loss which is inspiring, poignant, palpable, eternal. I interrupted this hub to go back and re-read it, as well as your hub on "Unresolved Grief", in order to sense your journey from there (when you wrote the other two) to here (now).

      The strength of your love is admirable. It's amazing to me that this October will mark the seventh anniversary of his passing. I can't tell you how many times I wish that we all could be granted passage, now and then, to reunite, albeit briefly, with our dear ones, to be transported to some safe shores, where they await us; when the meeting time is over, I might not want to leave, but I would keep my end of the bargain, particularly if I knew that perhaps one or two more reunions might be allowed in my lifetime. It's the apparent finality of death which seems so cold. And yet I do believe that our loved ones do have ways of contacting us, through memories and dreams.

      Kind regards, Stessily

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Stessily, thank you for your thoughtful comments...they're always appreciated. August is always difficult because it was the crux of the condition he experienced, and it was an intense time of helping him. I was pretty much alone in that until the end of September when we remarried the last week of September, brought his family and friends in for a 'live wake' and sat in vigil. On October 1st he died.

      I wrote another hub, "A journey towards death" which depicts more of the detail and some photos of our remarriage ceremony. God Bless...

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      Denise, August is a month of transition, of endings, and of beginnings, and as such it represents a circle and the cycle of life for me for many reasons, some of them quite personal. Your August is my November, which is interesting, because August and November always end on the same day of the week. Also, November may be seen as a month of transition, from October's Indian Summer to December's wintry festivities.

      It shows how deeply you are linked with John that you have these feelings, sad though they may be, which well up within you and perhaps may be seen as a kind of communication between you two. Just as you did not want to lose sight or touch of him in your lifetime, assuredly he also felt that reluctance to part.

      I hope that you don't mind if I wonder about the significance of October as a month which is hard for you.

      The only thought which I can offer to you which I hope is helpful is that I have come to be grateful for the sadness because it reminds me of the great, undying love which lies behind those feelings. It took me many years to come to that realization, but it has made all the difference for me. A great love will be greatly missed and, with time, can inspire us to a deeper, more fulfilling appreciation and expression of life. But you know that; it's in your writings.

      Appreciatively, Stessily

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I'm touched by your feedback, megni. Thank you for taking a moment to read my poetry. :) Many blessings.

    • megni profile image

      megni 5 years ago

      Yes, sorrow is the underside of joy. The two go hand in hand and there's no way to get to the dawn but through the night. But what joy awaits those who accept both as necessary. Your poetry is beautiful and it speaks of a soul that is aware of life and its ups and downs but mostly how to make use of both sunshine and rain.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Snakeslane, I'm sorry about your loss. I had a wonderful dream about my mother after she died and it made me sad and joyful all at once. My favorite dream visits have been when my husband, (the focus of these two poems) came to me...especially when we would dance!

      I wish you well with your writing and your journey of grief. I have written two other hubs referencing John's death. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience here.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      Hello Denise, I wanted to come and see your page, especially after you so kindly visited me again. I see your August poem is truly about and overflowing with grief. It is so great that you can share this because clearly, as you say, grief is a universal experience. I'm in the midst of a similar anniversary having lost my mother a year ago. Last night I dreamed that she and I were having a telephone conversation. It's the first time I've dreamt about her since she passed away.

      I see you are a very prolific writer and look forward to reading more of the articles listed here on your page. Regards, snakeslane

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you for reading and commenting Vicki. The fact that you were so moved touches me.

    • Vicki99 profile image

      Vicki99 6 years ago from Meridian Idaho

      Wow. Your words so completely capture grief. I sit here with tears running down my cheeks. Very beautifyly expressed.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Lauren-I know that you share this world of grief. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Many Blessings.

    • profile image

      Lauren 6 years ago

      As always, your poetry stirs tender emotion for me. You share in a way that truly does share the universality of grief. And no matter how many years....the feeling of something being askew, but not knowing what until the subconscious releases the memories. Thank you.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey Kim-thanks for visiting the site and sharing your experience. You are right-I lost my mother in '03 to cancer and that was difficult-she died on Christmas morning. My father died suddenly in his home from a heart attack. My nephew, whom I am now raising, discovered him after walking the dog. I miss them both, but my husband was my best friend and knew me in ways my parents did not. Our history was different from the role of daughter. So, is a reality that we all eventually face. Seems the longer I live the more I am aware of the poignancy of life.

      Ken-thank you for the sensitivity and sweetness of your words. Always the poet. I believe in your words...I believe we do have many lives and that reunion with the beloved is possible. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      I feel your pain, yet to meet again you both will. We live a lifetime of lives over and over again, somewhere in time you will meet. In the flesh we feel alone, the loss, the touch of a loved one, only time heals our broken and empty heart, it to will pass, yet remain steadfast always with you every year of his passing. I pray your years get better and you keep him near inside. For yes you will meet again on the other side of our curtain.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      Very expressive poem, Denise. Thanks for sharing it. I recently lost both parents - a year apart from each other. It's been a couple years now. Anniversaries aren't so difficult for me, but a work experience recently reminded me of some of the better times which brings a smile and a tear. But your poem alerted me to the fact that one of us, my husband or I will go first, and how much more difficult losing a lifelong partner would be. As difficult as losing parents is, losing a partner would be so much more difficult. It sounds to me like you are working your way through your grief in a healthy way over time, and allowing yourself to feel the loss. GBY.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello Rosemary, thank you for reading and commenting. I apologize for the delay in my response. I've just begun a new job that puts me on a 12 hr evening shift (7 pm - 7 a.m) Between work and sleep there is hardly time to enjoy one of the things I love the most-my writing. Nice to meet you.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      A beautifully touching poem. Anniversaries are always the worst when we have lost someone we love.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Martie. Acknowledging the loss and remembering the events is the balm that soothes. It hasn't been as long lasting this year as it has in the past. Thanks for the vote.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 years ago from South Africa

      Unresolved Grief is a wound that never heals. I hope you will soon discover the perfect healing ointment. May the remaining scars become so strong that August will never be able to open them again. I’ve voted this hub up and awesome and heart-touching beautiful.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks hon...I appreciate your reading and commenting. :) It's just so strange how that creeps up on me. It's getting better though-I notice it quicker and just stay with it and accept it.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      I always forget that August is so much harder for you than October. Beautifully written. I miss him too...

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you, b, for your feedback. Much appreciated. :)

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      From your Sad Heart to ours Denise...It takes so long to Heal, to really let go, which Time and only time allows...and No one can be a keeper of that time. Beautifully written as only one who has been there can truly write, Denise.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello crystolite-thank you for stopping by to read this hub and leave your comments. Nice to meet you. I have read your work and am pleased to be following you.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Denise is my pleasure meeting you for the first time. that is a horribly experience but all the same is well.You will survive but make peace with grief.I am happy over your write up is interesting and joyous listen to such poetry.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for your comments, EHQ. I have made peace with the grief and, it has been almost 6 yrs now, am able to move on. I no longer feel frozen and immobile. I no longer wait to hear his voice. But, each August the body remembers the emotional trauma of the news and the mad scramble of hope and then resignation and finally, acceptance of death. It is a cellular memory, this grief that resurrects itself each year. Thank you for reading.

    • profile image

      ExoticHippieQueen 6 years ago

      Denise, this hub brought tears to my eyes because I can feel your grief so tangibly, and my heart aches for you. Losing someone you love is a loss that improves but always leaves an empty place in your heart. You will go on, you will survive and even thrive. You have to make peace with the grief before you can move on...........

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you DJ-I appreciate your comments.

    • Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

      Ask_DJ_Lyons 6 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

      My heart goes out to you in your time of grief. May time soon bring you peace and heart's ease.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Spirit Whisperer-thank you for taking the time to read the work and comment. I appreciate your feedback.

      Ruby-coming from a poet such as yourself, that is quite a compliment. Thank you.

      Writer20-my condolences to you. It has been since 2005 since the death of my husband and it is the month of August in which the disease of cancer became most active, while the prognosis most dismal. Thank you for commenting.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Marky-thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate your comfort.

      Ubanichijioke-so nice to meet you and thank you for

      your comments, blessings and caring. :)

      Vinodkpillai-so nice to see you again. What a beautiful true. It is a sweet pain that breaks the heart open to receive more of God's gifts of grace. Thanks for stopping by.

      Cloverleaf-thanks for commenting and sharing your own connection here with August.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I know exactly where you are coming from and I'm so sorry you've had to go through this. Its almost a year ago for me and sometimes the pain still hurts.

      Your poems will help you heal.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      God bless you Denise. Your poetry is beautiful. Thank you.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Your words describe a very personal place in your heart and I thank you for sharing these very touching words.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Denise, August is a difficult time for me too so I relate very deeply to your hub and appreciate that you have shared your feelings in such a meaningful way.

      I will be watching out for your next 29 hubs in the challenge too, I'm pleased we're in the challenge together.


    • Vinodkpillai profile image

      Vinodkpillai 6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      I remembered Percy Bysshe Shelley :"Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought" (To a Skylark). Words fail me Denise! I read the older hub too - it's just too beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      Oh such sweet poetry but the sadness is resounding throughout the lines. Sorry for your loss. You re a great woman. Be blessed

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 6 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Denise what beautiful poems. I know you miss him so and I have to say your writing brought a tear to my eye. God Bless you Denise and yes he will be waiting with open arms for your arrival to our real home in heaven.


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Binaya-thank you for reading and offering your feedback. It is amazing how much we learn from one another, here on hubpages, isn't it. I appreciate you stopping by.

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      Binaya.Ghimire 6 years ago

      I always related August with sublimity, never knew it could be a metaphor of melancholia. Great poetry.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      SilentReed-Thank you for your feedback; I appreciate it.

      Hi Annie-thanks for reading and commenting. :) Hanging tough.

      Peter-thank you for your kindness and words of comfort. Much appreciated.

      Viryabo-thank you for blessings. Your words warm me. :)

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 6 years ago

      Beautiful and touching poems Denise. It brought a slight ache to my heart whilst reading. I really feel you in these 2 wonderful poems.

      GodBless you and continue to be with you as you heal.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Denise your peotry is so complete and from the heart it makes me feel the pain that we all have in these times. I know that everyone shares this with you as I do. Take care,


    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      beautiful and toughing - voted up awesome and beautiful.

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 6 years ago from Philippines

      So many beautiful lines....metaphors and images expressive of life and healing. Thank you for sharing.